It’s been a while since my last blog post! It looks like I’ll be blogging more often as I step into these next thousand cubits of my life =)
It’s been a great 3 months back home. Although it was pretty challenging adjusting to America, I believe I received the rest and rejuvenation that I needed. I’m blessed to have been a part of a great work the Lord has done here in this area! I’m thankful for being able to catch up and chill with old friends and mentors, and also for new relationships/friendships as well. And most of all, it was awesome to catch up and witness the Lord’s grace over my mom and sisters life. Seriously, blessed beyond measure to see them in greater heights and greater depths of intimacy with the Lord.
In about 18 hours, I’ll be on a plane headed to Seoul, Korea. The last time I went to Korea was 11 years ago for about two weeks! I’ll be going to Korea for three years for various reasons. The main reason is for Seminary. I’ll be a student at Torch Trinity Theological Seminary going for an M.Div. Many here at home have asked me these two questions: 1) Why Seminary?, 2) Why in Korea?
“I’ll never go to Cemetery (Seminary)! I don’t want to be around people of dead religion. That’s so religious. I have the Holy Spirit and many amazing experiences. Why stuff my head and waste my time?”
Yep…that was me about a year and a half ago. Haha…so embarrassed right now. Oh how immature I was haha. The problem with this was that I was separating walking in the Spirit and walking in the Word (Truth). I saw it as two ends of a spectrum. Now I realize that I needed to pursue and walk in the fullness of both. Oh yea and also, I was just too lazy to dig deep into the Word of God. I realized that true longing and hunger will lead to discipline. Everyone longs and eagerly desires to go deep in the Word of God. Spiritual MATURITY comes when we actually follow through with our desires in discipline. A lot of my faith was based on my experiences, which is great! But I realized how much I personally needed to be grounded and equipped with the Word. I failed to realize the gravity of importance of what the Word of God was. Or should I say…..WHO the Word of God was! Just let this verse sink in for a little bit…
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
In my time in the Gambia, we had worship service every morning and evening, except Saturdays. Missionary Han really challenged me and put me in a place where I had to preach 3-4 times a week. Not only that, but also led a couple bible studies with various groups. Not only that, but also had to teach a biblical worldview class to college aged students. With these opportunities, at times I felt like I did a pretty good job. Honestly, I gave it my best and I can say that I “preached” out of a pure heart. As I look back, I realized that most of my preaching, teaching, and sharing were majority based on my EXPERIENCES and TESTIMONIES. Not that those are bad, but I rarely dug deep into actually studying and delivering the RICHES OF THE WORD. I even had great points to share, and searched for scripture verses to back up and support my points. I look back at some of my messages…and I feel embarrassed hahaha. I realized how much scripture I shared out of context, and how much verses I used that actually had nothing to do with the REAL meaning of the scripture =\. I wasn’t giving my Gambian brothers and sisters the DEEP RICHES OF HIS WORD. I was just giving them little appetizers as their main course.
What I realized was that Missionary Han, who had been to seminary 8+ years and knows his stuff, encouraged me EVERY time after I preached. I’m pretty sure he saw and identified my mistakes and miscontextualization all the time. He never corrected me, but always encouraged me. He was secretly training me. And that really humbled me. He could have critiqued and embarrassed me every single time, but he didn’t. He encouraged me to keep practicing and keep going. WOW. God definitely gave me a newfound humility and holy fear in what it means to truly PREACH. It was time to stop playing around with this sword.
So that’s part of the reason why I felt convicted to go to seminary. To be able to give my brothers and sisters in the Gambia the riches and the depths of His word. Not only for my own sake, but for the sake of the lives of the people God will place me in.
Why in Korea?
Several reasons. As I researched around as to which seminary to go to, some missionaries suggested Torch Trinity in Korea. Korea was never on my grid and it was pretty random. But I looked into it. I liked what I saw. It was a Seminary that was focused on Missions. Many of the students there are international students, and many already have a heart focused on missions. BTW, everything is in English, not Korean hahah. Also, what caught my eye was that this school had a special track called “Center for Islamic studies”. This really interested me because of Gambia being a ~90% Islamic country. I later found out some friends of mine were actually students at Torch!
When I was in Gambia, we had to host many short term teams from around the world. One particular team came from Korea from a church called Onnuri church. It was a team of ~25 people. We spent a lot of time together and became friends. I asked them, “hey have you heard of a school called Torch Trinity?”. They said, “OH YEA! That’s the seminary that is attached to the same building as our church!”. What I also found out was that Onnuri church and Trinity Seminary (where majority of my ODPC pastors graduated from) in Chicago partnered to birth Torch Trinity. Sweet. So the team members told me, “Yea if you come to Torch, we will take care of you. We can help you look for a place and we can help you get situated and we can even help you find jobs if you need to work!” I was like….woooow thweeeet!
I got tight with their team leader. She actually works with a missions leader at her church who specializes in training and equipping long-term missionaries. She told me that she would love to connect me to him and get him to mentor me! When she told me who the man was, I died. His name is Jae-won Lee. Guess who he is? He was a missionary in the Gambia for 20+ years!!!! He was the one who started West Africa Mission (WAM), the organization I worked under. He passed it on to Missionary Han, who I partnered with this past year. So in Korea, I look forward to meeting up with, sharing, and learning from the one who had spent 20+ years in the Gambia. Pretty cool right?
So yea. I am so excited for this next chapter of my life. Who woulda thought I’d end up in Korea for seminary? Hahah whoa. I do have a prayer request!
A couple weeks ago, I watched Les Miserable with my mom and sister. Throughout the movie, I knew everything that was going on. By the end of the movie, I got up and smiled and said, “OK! Let’s go home now.” I looked to my right and saw that my mom and sister were both weeping. I then looked around and saw that majority of people in the theater were either crying or had puffy eyes. I was like….uhhhhhhh is that something wrong with me?!? I knew what the movie was about. I knew the parts that were sad. I knew what scenes WOULD make people cry. But it just didn’t affect me like it did everyone else. Why am I sharing this?
My hope and prayer is that when I go to seminary, I won’t be one who learns and knows everything and wont be affected by it. I want to be in a place where I am so sensitive to what I learn, and I want to be rocked to the core of my heart. I don’t want to be a person who just “gets it” and understands in my head. I want to be transformed by the power of His Word as I learn and go deeper. Basically, I don’t want to be like how I was after watching Les Miserable hahahaha. Lame and corny, I know. But that’s the best way I can explain it haha.
Please keep me in prayer! I have orientation January 21, and classes begin February 25. It’s going to be a great new season of discipleship (being discipled and discipling), intimacy, greater depths, pruning, deep relationships, new friendships, and more!
Keep in touch! Thanks =)
Love in Christ,